NORML’s Weekly Legislative Round Up

Lots to report on this week, so let’s get right to it.
If you have not yet gotten active in your state, now is most definitely the time to start.
Here’s this week’s highlights of actions you can take right now to reform the laws in your state.
For a complete listing of statewide actions, please visit NORML’s Take Action Center here.

Decriminalizing Marijuana: In a historic vote, members of the Connecticut Joint Committee on Judiciary last week approved Senate Bill 349, which as amended, would mandate that the possession of up to one-half ounce of marijuana by those over 18 years of age is punishable by a ticket — not criminal charges. The bill now awaits action from he full Senate. Show your support for this effort by logging on here or by getting in touch with Connecticut NORML here.
In Texas, members of the House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence will hear testimony on Wednesday in favor of House Bill 902 — an act to reduce the penalties for the possession of up to ounce of marijuana to fine-only offense. The hearing is scheduled for 2pm in room E-2028 in the State Capitol Building. If you live in Texas you can write your representative in support of HB 902 by going here. You can also leave a message for the Committee by going here. Full details on attending this week’s hearing are available from Texas NORML here.
Legalizing Medical Marijuana: Minnesota lawmakers continue to show their support for making medical cannabis legal. Senate File 97 is now before the Senate floor, and the House companion bill is also gaining momentum. If you reside in Minnesota and want to see it become the fourteenth state to legalize the physician-supervised use of cannabis, please visit here to contact your elected officials and the Governor’s office.
In Alabama, members of the House Judiciary Committee are scheduled to hear testimony this Wednesday in favor House Bill 434, The Michael Phillips Compassionate Care Act. If you live in Alabama you can contact your state officials here, and you can learn more about attending this week’s hearing from Alabamians for Compassionate Care here.
And since so many of you have asked: yes, medical marijuana legislation is coming to Pennsylvania. Over the past weeks, NORML state affiliates in Pennsylvania and New Jersey have been working closely with Pennsylvania Rep. Mark Cohen (D-Philadelphia) to draft legislation legalizing the authorized use of medical cannabis. Representative Cohen’s bill is anticipated to be formally introduced before the legislature later this month, and mainstream media outlets are already opining for its passage. For more information, or to become involved in this effort, please visit here, or contact the good folks at Philly NORML.

UPDATE: Montana GOP Kills Marijuana Law Reform:
On March 23, members of the Montana House Judiciary Committee deadlocked 9 to 9 on House Bill 541, which sought to reclassify the possession of thirty grams or less of marijuana from a criminal misdemeanor to a civil infraction. Not one Republican voted in favor of the bill. An effort by supporters to raise the measure for reconsideration also failed.
Days later, members of the House Human Services Committee voted 8 to 8 on Friday, March 27, to table Senate Bill 326, which sought to expand Montana’s medical marijuana program. Once again, no Republicans endorsed the bill. A motion on the House floor to reconsider the bill failed 47 to 51.
More information on this disappointing news is available here. If you live in Montana, don’t just get angry — get involved!

To learn about additional pending legislation in California, Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, and Vermont, please visit NORML’s Legislative Action Alerts page here.

0 thoughts

  1. A few notes to various posts:
    The weekly legislative blog highlights legislative activity in certain states; it is not meant to be an inclusive review of ALL statewide activity. That information is available here:
    http://capwiz.com/norml2/issues/
    Please check the site, and check it often for updates.
    RE: Maryland (Comment #37): NORML hasn’t “forgotten” about you. The Committee held a hearing and they have not scheduled the bill for a vote. Have you contacted the Committee and urged them to do so? You can: http://capwiz.com/norml2/issues/alert/?alertid=12879291.
    RE: NY (Comments #2, #10, #16, #29): Medical marijuana bills will be introduced in the Assembly and in the Senate later this month, so you should begin calling your state elected officials and urge them to get on board now!
    RE: WI (Comment #23): The Jacki Rickert Medical Marijuana Act is being drafted and may be introduced in June.
    RE: TX (Comments #11, #20, #36): You can stream the audio of today’s hearing here: http://www.house.state.tx.us/media/welcome.php. Vote may come imminently. Please get involved w/ Texas NORML, who remains very active in the Capitol.
    RE: AL (Comment #33): Hearing postponed.
    RE: IN (Comment #35): Please consider getting involved with your state NORML affiliates. There are three in your state, one if which is making headlines today: http://www.jconline.com/article/20090407/NEWS0501/904070334
    RE: FL (Comments #3, #12, #43) An initiative effort is not legislation, hence it isn’t mentioned in the “legislative” blog.
    Keep in mind, national NORML does not introduce state legislation; we assist these efforts. Only your state representative or senator can introduce legislation — typically at their constituents behest. If ‘nothing’ is happening in your state, then consider joining a NORML state affiliate (or starting a NORML chapter if there is none), and contacting/visiting your local representatives to MAKE something happen.

  2. #39 Do you mean the assembly, it has already passed the senate. Does anyone know the name of the person in charge of putting A804 up for a vote on the assembly floor ? Becouse 86% of people in NJ approve of medical marijuana. All of the NJ Assembaly is up for re-election in Nov. and I am sure the people of NJ who support A804 would like to know who NOT to support this November if #39 statement is true !

  3. Thanks for the info, Paul! Much appreciated. I will try and keep a close eye on what’s happening in my state of Wisconsin.
    I understand Wisconsin NORML is going through some changes with the current chair stepping down or something like that. I got a random email update recently about it.
    It’s hard to keep in contact with those guys because they don’t answer my emails and their website is broken and/or never updated, or at least it appears that way, so it’s hard to tell what’s going on around here. I wish our NORML chapter was more active. Unfortunately, they meet during the most inconvenient times for me, so I’m unable to participate, otherwise I’d lend a helping hand.

  4. What happened to our reps voting the way their population WANTS THEM TO? Isn’t that the way it’s supposed to be….
    And can anyone please tell me why Gov. Patterson needs a $20,000 rug in his office? He can’t even see it.
    Come on NY let’s really talk about REFORM please!
    Wanna get our state out of debt….you know what to do next.

  5. I live in Jersey too and wrote to the senate AND state, and now I heard they are not going to mention the bill. that’s horse crap.

  6. I live in Texas and I feel overwhelmed by right wing acts to shame pot smokers. They write it off as if anyone who mentions or references smoking pot is not credible or not worth time listening to. Texas definitely makes us responsible smokers feel alone, unheard, and under appreciated for what exactly we do for Texas; like I don’t know… how about pay the state governments they’re nice big fat paychecks so they can enjoy their lives and step all over ours. I wish some group would protest the non valid statements being issued by the extreme right and discredit any statements they have against marijuana reform.

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